Private rental brokerage programs (PRBPs) are a key pillar of support for disadvantaged people accessing and sustaining private rental. This is in addition to more formal private rental assistance programs delivered by state and territory governments; and Commonwealth financial assistance in the form of Commonwealth Rent Assistance and tax incentives to increase supply (e.g. NRAS).
Due to the diversity of private rental brokerage activities delivered primarily by non-government organisations in response to local needs, these various programs and activities have lacked a single visible identity. There is no one size fits all as these are tailored to individual needs however common activities include: information and referral; flexible individual support; promotion of self-reliance and resilience; working with landlords and real estate agents to broker tenancies; practical and material assistance, and post-housing support.
Key to the success of some of these programs are that tenants are ‘rent ready’ and that strong relationships with real estate agents are brokered, established over time and maintained by trust and confidence.
Programs could be strengthened by:
- consistent data collection to capture the breadth of supports provided and to track medium to longer term outcomes for clients
- an adequate supply of affordable and appropriate housing options
- education to tackle discrimination in the housing market
- common terminology to describe the scope of activities, the outcomes achieved and supports offered to raise awareness of their positive role in housing marginalised or disadvantaged people
- attracting a professional and sustainable workforce to ensure consistent quality training and to recruit for retention and succession.